Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Logan Steiner Interview - After Anne

Photo Content from Logan Steiner

Logan Steiner is a lawyer by day and a writer by baby bedtime. Her writing explores motherhood and the creative life. Logan’s debut novel AFTER ANNE was released on May 30, 2023 by HarperCollins. For fans of Anne of Green Gables and fans of complex, creative women, the novel tells the life story of the author Lucy Maud Montgomery. Logan also writes a Substack newsletter called The Creative Sort, which explores the internal sort we go through when deciding whether and what to create—from becoming a parent, to writing a book, to taking on a big work project. After graduating from Pomona College and Harvard Law School, Logan clerked for three federal judges, spent six years in Big Law, and served for three years as an Assistant United States Attorney. She now specializes in brief writing at a boutique law firm. Logan lives in Denver with her husband, daughter, and the cranky old man of the house, a Russian Blue cat named Taggart.

Greatest thing you learned at school.
From favorite English teachers at Palmer High School and English and religious studies professors at Pomona College, I learned how to organize my thoughts, write, and edit—on repeat.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first read books that made me feel more at home in my own deeply-feeling skin, including the Anne series.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. Robinson’s language is pure poetry, and her words bring me comfort on my hardest days—my most important criteria for a favorite book. Gilead reassures me that grace and meaning are here in everyday moments if I take the time to slow down and look.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
I strongly believe in Liz Gilbert’s advice in Big Magic to keep a day job. My artist mom taught me never to put pressure on creative work to pay the bills. And I am not someone for whom creative work has ever come quickly. My law career has not only been rewarding in its own right, but the stable foundation from which I’ve been able to pursue my creative path in my own time and at my own pace.

Can you tell us when you started AFTER ANNE, how that came about?
For a number of years, my law career took my full attention. The deep pain of losing my brother Ben unexpectedly to a brain aneurysm in 2014 motivated me to stop putting my creative dreams on hold. In the fall of 2015, I began the research for After Anne.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted?
I learned that After Anne had been accepted by Tessa Woodward at HarperCollins—a fellow Anne aficionado and my dream editor—in September 2021, a few weeks after having my daughter. I pulled out my phone after waking to newborn cries at 5 am and was greeted by a text from my agent Abby Saul, asking me to call her. At that point, I had all but given up on believing the book would find its publishing home. It’s hard to put words to the joy and raw bleary-eyed energy I felt looking into the eyes of my newborn daughter while hearing the words I had always dreamed of hearing from Abby, an amazing human and this book’s champion through years of ups and downs. I had her repeat the news twice because I couldn’t believe it.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from AFTER ANNE
  • 1) “Dear old world,” she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you." —Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • 2) “Oh,” she thought, “how horrible it is that people have to grow up—and marry—and CHANGE!” —Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of the Island
  • 3) Those who can soar to the highest heights can also plunge to the deepest depths, and . . . the natures which enjoy most keenly are those which also suffer most sharply. —Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of the Island
  • 4) If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer. ― Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • 1) How long ago were these particles part of the sandstone? Years? Minutes? We all wear away, she thought. Particles separating and dispersing and consolidating, if they ever do again, into something else entirely. The incredible part is what holds any of us together in the meantime.
  • 2) All I can really control is me and what I choose to look at. I learned this, once, but not fully enough. Sometimes another way of being in this world seems out there just beyond the tips of my fingers.
  • 3) Anne would never spend her energy on morbid thoughts of what might come after. For Anne, a single day—a single hour—could hold as much grandeur and fascination as a lifetime. It was simply a matter of the dose of attention devoted. Maud turned her attention to the hours just lived.
  • 4) To be alive in an interesting world, and to tell about it. That was something.
What is the first job you have had?
Lifeguard at a local pool.

What’s your most missed memory?
Visiting my grandparents in the thousand-person town of Moville, Iowa for spring break and summer holidays. Life felt slowed-down and sacred during those visits.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Losing my younger brother Ben unexpectedly in 2014.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love with a guarantee of heart break.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Those undereye wrinkles again.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
I often read The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo before falling asleep, which always brings a dose of needed perspective. When I take the time to do this, I usually settle into bed feeling grateful for my husband, daughter, parents, and the other people who matter most to me.

Then I tell my husband to stop working and come to bed.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school?
English and math.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
My daughter, an hour ago.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
1980s, pre-internet.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
The highs and lows of my early relationship with my husband, falling in love while studying abroad in Oxford and staying up all night talking about life, the universe, and all manner of things, while creating countless inside jokes with a close group of lifelong friends. Many of those nights remind me of the movie Before Sunrise.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Not finding the right words to say what I mean or feel.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
My husband’s and my move to Denver in December 2018 after more than nine years in Chicago—made by way of a wedding in Key Largo, Florida, followed by a week with friends in Morocco that included visits to walled cities and desert camel rides—landing us in Denver on Christmas Eve.

A stunning and unexpected portrait of Lucy Maud Montgomery, creator of one of literature’s most prized heroines, whose personal demons were at odds with her most enduring legacy—the irrepressible Anne of Green Gables.

“Dear old world,” she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” —L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908

As a young woman, Maud had dreams bigger than the whole of Prince Edward Island. Her exuberant spirit had always drawn frowns from her grandmother and their neighbors, but she knew she was meant to create, to capture and share the way she saw the world. And the young girl in Maud’s mind became more and more persistent: Here is my story, she said. Here is how my name should be spelled—Anne with an “e.”

But the day Maud writes the first lines of Anne of Green Gables, she gets a visit from the handsome new minister in town, and soon faces a decision: forge her own path as a spinster authoress, or live as a rural minister’s wife, an existence she once likened to “a respectable form of slavery.” The choice she makes alters the course of her life.

With a husband whose religious mania threatens their health and happiness at every turn, the secret darkness that Maud herself holds inside threatens to break through the persona she shows to the world, driving an ever-widening wedge between her public face and private self, and putting her on a path towards a heartbreaking end.

Beautiful and moving, After Anne reveals Maud’s hidden personal challenges while celebrating what was timeless about her life and art—the importance of tenacity and the peaceful refuge found in imagination.

You can purchase After Anne at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LOGAN STEINER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of After Anne by Logan Steiner

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